Greg Roach's Berkshires Blog
Monday, November 05, 2007
  Not Much Has Changed in 12 Years
A little piece of North Adams Election history just for fun:


In the past several weeks, I have been criticized on your editorial page by letter writers who have single me out by name or have grouped me with one or more city councilors who, according to the general tenor of comments, have, by criticizing individuals who have appeared before the City Council, in some way " suppressed democracy" in North Adams. Perhaps I should now respond.

First, a lesson in civics. Democracy, contrary to the notions of Eric Rudd and former Councilor Vincent Melito, is not the right of someone to appear before the City Council., advance some hare-brained scheme and then pout because no one leapt from their chair in a swoon to kiss the speaker's fanny in awe and admiration. Democracy is the result of the democratic process when the eligible electorate have made their selection of the individuals that they want to represent them. As of this writing , Mr,Melito , the North Adams electorate has deliberately, and I might add, intelligently, not elected you to represent them since 1987 - your public profession of "representing" the "people" on various issues, most lately, obituary fees, notwithstanding.

And, Mr. Rudd, who didn't have the guts to run for public office, apparently believes there's nothing wrong with feet of clay as long as he can sculpt something with the clay. Somehow, his dalliance with a run for mayor, has led Mr. Rudd to believe that his ideas and proposals have greater merit than those who are charged with the responsibility of, and , who will be held accountable for, making decisions on behalf of the people who elected them.

I might refresh Mr. Melito's memory about his commitment to "democracy" when as a council president in 1989 he maliciously refused to appoint myself and fellow councilors, AlMarden and Louis Sinclitico, to any council committee or liaison assignments. this action by Mr. Melito in essence denied the people, who had elected the three of us, to effective representation on the council. So much for Mr. Melito's pretense in defending "democracy" and the "people's will."

Gary Hillard, in a recent letter chastised me for "belittling" a candidate (Mr. Melito) for council, "before the election even gets started." Yo! Gary! The election doesn't start until the polls open on Tuesday, Nov. 7. I bet you meant "campaign."Maybe if you spent less time waddling your welfare butt up and down Curran Highway and got a job, you could not only pay taxes like most hard-working folk do but you could also afford to buy a dictionary which might explain the difference between and election and a campaign for election.

In another recent letter, Dr. Peter May defended Mr. Rudd's idea for textured sidewalks in the downtown, and, by doing so, took the council to task for not adhering to Mr. Rudd's suggestions. Dr. May apparently picked a leaf from one of the newly set concrete squares and noticed a fossil-like imprint of the leaf. Dr. May apparently instantly "knew" what Mr. Rudd had meant. The telepathic relationship between Dr. May and Mr. Rudd is mind-boggling. Because Mr. Rudd, never, before the council meeting, at the council meeting, or even after the council meeting in his lengthy whine-litter to The Transcript, publicly let anyone know what he meant by "textured" sidewalk. Dr. May joins the whiners in blasting some councilors (obviously, I was one) for mocking Mr. Rudd. Well, Dr. May, he deserved to be mocked, as did his ideas.

One of my great fears is that the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art will encourage an influx of artistic city types, like Mr. Rudd, who see North Adams as fertile territory to "put one over on the local yokels." Artists have egos even larger than politicians. No one can fully fathom the depths of their creative genius. Or at least so their delusion runs. The mayor and City Council have a responsibility to the taxpayers of North Adams and those others who fund the grants we receive, such as the outside-funded downtown street and sidewalk project. Money for arty-craftsy decoration and embellishments- however creative or aesthetic - were not included.

Consider the man hours, and thus the added expense, if the concept of putting leaf imprints in the concrete had been instituted. Of course, visitors might not see the leaf patterns as aesthetic touches. They might thing the contractor did a lousy job and failed to remove the fallen leaves before the concrete dried. and I can see the some of the guys onPetricca's crew: "Chauncy! Watch it. You've got too many leaves in that quadrant, the symmetrical symbiosis of axilary [sic] aesthetics is inconsistent." " Shut the ---- up, Floyd, or I'll make pattern of your face." Really!

Actually, I'm just surprised that Mr. Rudd or Dr. May didn't carry this hare-brained proposal one step further and suggest, in order to truly integrate the arts and the interests of the downtown merchant, that each merchant "adopt" a section of sidewalk outside their establishment and have imprints of their products put in the concrete. For example, outside the Pizza House we could have imprints of pepperoni and anchovies; theMoulton family could have eyeglass imprints in the sidewalk outside the Spectacle Shoppe. How about paint brushes and sandpaper in front of Aldo's; nickles. dimes and quarters outside North AdamsHoosac Savings and across the street at Bank of Boston. Hell, further down in the sidewalk in front of Brooks Pharmacy you could have aspirin and condom imprints. Wow! Ain't the imagination wonderful?

And speaking of textured sidewalks - actually we already have them. They're called "cracks" and that's what we're trying to fix.

Mr. Rudd is the proto-typical artist/art promoter that we should expect the MASS MoCA. Remember the pile of scrap metal bales and the old car with the attached PVC pipe that Mr. Rudd exhibited outside the Beaver Mill last summer? That is "art?" Mr. Rudd is the type that would put a pile of dog poop on the sidewalk on the corner of Main and Marshall Street - attach a plaque on the wall of the adjacent building which reads "Poodle's Paradise - artist unknown." The scary thing is if you could get car load of New Yorkers to stop at that corner, they would undoubtedly " ooh" and "aah" about the texture, the contours, and the overall affect. Surely, one would say, "What a shame the artist is unknown. I'd really like to commission a similar piece for my coffee table back home."

The colored sidewalk idea of Mr. Rudd is equally ludicrous. Perhaps not in added costs or man hours to do, but in public safety. typically artists put form (aesthetics) before function 9use) and this is a typical case. Colored sidewalk squares are dangerous to anyone with depth perception problems - and, the elderly often fit this category. The shift from one color to another as one walks from one concrete square to another gives the illusion of shadow which in turn implies the presence of varied heights. It would have the effect of camouflaging the real surface. Any World War II vet who crossed the Atlantic or Pacific by ship knows that camouflaging on warships and transports was designed to throw off the accuracy of enemy submarines torpedoes. Different colored sidewalk squares would be pretty, no doubt, but totally unfit - at least for many of our citizens - for use.

Textured sidewalks, by the same token, hold ice and snow longer and often make it more difficult to shovel down to the grade. When it comes to making a choice I will always choose the health and safety of the public over these so-called creative and imaginative ideas that Mr. Rudd has advance and Mr.Melito, Mr. Hillard and Dr. May have gone Ga Ga over.

I have been a veteran of both appointed and elected office, dating back to 1972. I have taught public administration as well as urban policy and planning courses for over 20 years. During that time I have warmly received many new ideas - but they were good ideas, not non- functional ones. Maybe Mr. Rudd should restrict himself to erecting junk piles outside the Beaver Mill; Dr. May should restrict himself to popping spinal chords [sic]; Mr. Hillard should restrict himself to finding a job; and Mr.Melito, well, maybe he should help Mr. Hillard - now there's an imaginative and creative idea.

Clark H. Billings
206 Corinth St.
North Adams
And you wonder why I've ceased to pay attention. You ever watch Land of the Lost when you were a kid. Brilliant show. The basic premise was far more complicated than most people remember. It was about a family that gets trapped in a pocket universe where the various flotsam and jetsam of different eras are sucked in and plopped there, to always exist, always repeat their actions, to remain static . . . so that the only reasonable and progressive action other than survival is to get out. The Land of the Lost itself will never change - it is an aberration in physics.

I think you get where this is heading . . .
Sounds like Groundhog Day to me.
sounds like a personal fued...sounds like chbpod was standing up for himself....although maybe he cluld use a civility lesson or two....
that's not a 1995 photo--but I did write that letter--proud of it-- sure it cost me an election (or two) but so what -I was right on target at the time-- the Editor didn't like my "tone"---well few people do--strange that after all these years Vinnie Melito would come out of the political closet-- to remind folks of my alledged indiscretions-- where was he in 1999-2001-2003- 2005???? Oh I just love conspiracy theries--and Greg Roach never met him until this past Halloween--really? hey Greg-- get around and meet the neighbors-----and I also believe in the tooth --somewhat gender confused---or maybe not so confused person- that puts a quarter under your pillow---chbpod
Seriously Clark, I've spoken with the man once for about 5 minutes. Vinny didn't get it from me.

The best part is that my good friend and neighbor Dave LaMarre, one of the biggest Barrett boosters around, provided the introduction.

Coincidences happen.

Good luck today, even if I don't vote for you. (And regarding the health stuff - take care of yourself. Your stress level probably isn't helping.)
Thanks for the kind words Greg---it's been an up and down year health wise---this recent problem---may have started back during the summer when I was having some intestinal disorder (I need not be "graphic") it continued into September and October--- I was weak-particularly my legs- lethargic- no ambition- no energy--no appetite-- and for 5 days I didn;t have anything to eat at all---losing weight- got down to 185--- and finally went to the Dr--- I was suffering from dehydration----my blood pressure was 90 over something and my normal is usually 120-130---my potassium levels were dangerously low as was my blood protein---they figured I must have developed a virus and it was simply draining me---they are still doing tests---mostly blood work to check my levels--but my appetitite is back- weight is up 10 pounds from 185--and a smattering of energy---stress???? that's a constant----given my wife's medical problems--and a heavier than usual load at school------MRI slated for next week---a CAT scan of my abdomen showed something on/in my liver--- and no it wasn't a bottle of Grey Goose---possibly a cyst or absess--I think if they were really worried they would not have scheduled the MRI two weeks after the CAT----I am surprised that they didn;t pick that up when they did a CAT and an Ultrsound last April----when the discovered leetle teeny tiny gall stones---I have seen enough of Drs and have had more pokes pricks and prods this year---and I have had it------so anyways--- I accept your good wishes and hope that all is well with you-- and that they find the little bastards that looted Wild Oats- Moonlight- and the others---chbpod
What a ridiculous letter. Eric Rudd is controversial, but at least he has ideas.

If North Adams had a town charette (planning meeting) to discuss future development do you think anyone show up?

Now that would be interesting.
Post a Comment

<< Home
A blog of random thoughts and reactions emanating from the bank of a mountain stream in the farthest reaches of the bluest of blue states.

May 2006 / June 2006 / August 2006 / September 2006 / October 2006 / November 2006 / December 2006 / January 2007 / February 2007 / March 2007 / April 2007 / May 2007 / June 2007 / July 2007 / August 2007 / September 2007 / October 2007 / November 2007 / December 2007 / January 2008 / February 2008 / March 2008 / April 2008 / May 2008 / June 2008 / July 2008 / August 2008 / September 2008 / October 2008 / November 2008 / December 2008 / January 2009 / February 2009 / March 2009 / April 2009 / May 2009 / June 2009 / July 2009 / August 2009 / September 2009 / October 2009 / November 2009 / December 2009 / January 2010 / February 2010 / March 2010 / April 2010 / May 2010 / January 2011 / May 2011 / June 2011 / July 2011 / October 2011 /

greg at gregoryroach dot com

"Livability, not just affordability." - Dick Alcombright

My ongoing campaign for North Adams City Council

iBerkshires' Online Event Calendar

Because a Chart is Worth 1000 Words

Congressional Budget Office data

Powered by Blogger